November 8, 1919

CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.


Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Minister of the Interior) moved that the amendments made by the Senate to Bill No. 33, respecting the acquisition by His Majesty of the Grand Trunk Railway system, be read a second time and concurred in. He said: The first amendment made by the Senate is to clause 6, which provides for the arbitration of the value of the preference and common stocks. In line 13, of that clause after the word " Canada " the following addition has been made: The value, If any, so determined shall not be greater than an amount on which the annual dividend at four per cent per annum on the aggregate face value of the present guaranteed stock and the new guaranteed stock taken together would exceed $5,000,000. The fixing of this limit shall not be taken by the arbitrators as any admission or indication that the value to be determined is the amount so fixed, or any other amount. The intended effect of the amendment, as hon. gentlemen will see, is to fix a maximum annual dividend of $5,000,000 to cover both the present guaranteed stock and the preference and common stock; that is to say, $2,500,000 is to cover the dividend that can be payable in respect of the award on the preference and common stock, the guaranteed stock representing the other $2,500,000. How the $5,000,000 is arrived at I do not know. But at all events it has pleased the Senate to fix a maximum of $2,500,000 as the utmost annual dividend that can be given in respect of the award to be made on the preference and common stock. I still hold the view expressed while this Bill was before the House that it is certainly unwise to place a maximum, for the reason I then expressed, namely, that it does intimate a feeling at all events that there might be the value stated in the maximum; and for the further reason that in connection with this arbitration the other parties to it in another country cannot be directly negotiated with in this connection, and are liable, I would think, to regard a maximum fixed by the one side as taking away from the arbitration the very essence of arbitration itself. For those reasons I think that it would be preferable not to fix a maximum. In this regard it differs from the Canadian Northern arbitration, inasmuch as in that case the holders of the stocks were here to negotiate with directly, they were our own citizens to the extent of over five-sixths of the whole stock; but the holders of these Grand Trunk stocks are overseas and are in no way subject to our jurisdiction, and we cannot come in personal and direct contact with them to reach any understanding or arrangement. However, from another standpoint, it is a safeguard, I suppose, to the extent that the maximum is fixed here, and the amendment is not of such a nature that we would feel justified in opposing it. I would point out, however, that I do not think the clause is aptly phrased. It says that the award shall-not be greater than an amount on which the dividends would exceed $5,000,000 on the aggregate preference and common stocks. I think the word " equal " would be better than the word " exceed." But I have no doubt at all that the Board of Arbitrators will have no difficulty in determining what is the real intention of Parliament in this regard. The second amendment merely substitutes the word " stock " for the word " stocks " in line forty-six of clause 10. That is the preferable word, and I presume the plural form was a misprint in the original. The third amendment is to insert after clause 11 the following as clause 12, a new clause: . For the purpose of the valuation provided in this Act, the obligations of the Grand Trunk as guarantors of any indebtedness of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company or of the Grand Trunk Pacific Branch Lines Company or otherwise and the claims of the Government of the Dominion of Canada against either of the above-mentioned companies or against any company forming part of the Grand Trunk Railway system shall not be treated as extinguished or affected by anything contained in this Act. If I were asked my personal opinion it would be that this clause is superfluous. I am quite unable to understand the apprehension of the Senate that the Chief Justice of the Exchequer Court might unless specially directed, value the stock irrespective of the obligation of the company whose stock it is; but I can see no injury to the Bill by the insertion of the clause, and consequently there is no reason why we should insist 'that it be removed. I beg to move that the amendments made by the Senate in Bill No. 33, an Act respecting the acquisition by His Majesty of the Grand Trunk Railway system, be agreed to.


UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Shelburne and Queen's) :

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the question of limitation, I agree very heartily with the argument of my hon. friend, but I am obliged to dissent from his conclusion, for after arguing one thing he did the very opposite. I quite concur in his view that it is a dangerous thing to put on this limitation at all, for it is open to the objection that it seems to be an invitation to the arbitrators to award that sum. The Senate appears to have anticipated that objection, and they have added some words to the effect that the arbitrators must not consider it as an admission of anything. But while they have done that, the fact remains that, the mere mention of that limitation is an intimation to the wide world that the arbitrators may award that sum, and no one will be very much surprised if they do award it. I regret that my hon. friend did not follow up his views by moving that this House should not concur in the amendment. I think if he had done so he would have found the House heartily in sympathy with him.

It strikes me that the form of the amendment is strange. It seems as if some one was exceedingly anxious to avoid the men-

tion of a big round sum. What the amendment means is that $2,500,000 will be required for the interest on the guaranteed stock, and the other $2,500,000 is to represent the balance as a maximum. That other $2,500,000 simply means another $60,000,000. Why the Senate do not state plainly that the award shall not exceed $60,000,000 I do not understand, unless some one thought that the mention of that sum might alarm the people, and that it might be camouflaged by merely mentioning the interest on that sum. It is a strange form of amendment to accomplish that which on examination is found, to be its purpose. However, that is a matter of no great consequence. If they wanted to say that the arbitrators should not award more than $60,000,000, why did they not say so in plain English? I am really unable to see what good end is served by concealing the fact that it means an invitation to the arbitrators, subject to the words, it is fair to say, that the Senate iput in, to award $60,000,000 to stocks which many people think are not worth any great sum at all.

I notice there appears to be some difficulty on the part of the Government in regard to this matter. Yesterday in one of the evening papers-I won't call it a Government organ, because I am one of those who think that the only Government organ is the Canada Gazette-hut in a paper very close to the Government, there is a report of something that occurred in the Senate. It is as follows:

In the committee on the Grand Trunk Bill this morning Sir James Lougheed announced that the Government would move two amendments to the Bill, one-

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. member is not in order in referring to proceedings in the other Chamber. Although those proceedings are published in the newspaper, that fact does not help him.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

It is not because those proceedings were published in the newspaper, Mr. Speaker. We are at this moment considering the amendments made by the Senate, and we cannot possibly discuss them without reference to what the Senate did.

Mr. SPEAKER: It is not competent in this House to refer to a debate in Committee of the Whole, much less would it be competent to refer to proceedings in another branch of Parliament. That is a very clear and well-recognized rule of this House.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I do not see how it is possible, Mr. Speaker, with all respect to

your judgment, for us to consider an amendment made by the .Senate without discussing the proceedings in the Senate as respects that amendment. I quite.agree that we cannot discuss the proceedings generally of the Senate.

Mr. SPEAKER [DOT] It is competent to discuss the stages of the proceedings in the Senate, but it is not competent to make any reference whatever to debates which took place or arguments which were used in the Senate or committee of the Senate..

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Of course, if you insist on your ruling, I shall submit to it. But I cannot see how it is possible to avoid a. reference to the proceedings of the Senate in this case. Surely I am at liberty to speak of an announcement made by the leader of the Government in the Senate with respect to this particular Bill. Surely I can discuss that. I quite appreciate the rule and I am anxious to abide by it; I simply wish to speak of a statement made in the Senate respecting this Bill.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. J. D. REID:

My hon. friend is referring to a newspaper report of those proceedings.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I have not the Senate Hansard before me, but I have no doubt that a reference to it would confirm this report.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The rule may be found in Bourinot, page 357. I quote:

It is also a part of the unwritten law ot Parliament that no allusion should be made in one House to the debates in the other chamber, a rule always enforced by the Speaker with the utmost strictness. Members sometimes it-tempt to evade this rule by resorting to ambiguous terms of expression-by referring, for instance, to what happened " in another place " ; but all such evasions of a wholesome practice should be stopped by the Speaker, when it is evident to whom the allusions are made.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I should concur at once-in the suggestion that that rule was applicable if we were dealing with a debate in the Senate. But I aim not dealing with any debate; I was proceeding to read an announcement made in the Senate in respect to this particular Bill. I submit,, therefore, with all due deference, Mr. Speaker, that I do not fall within that rule. I do not see how I can be prevented-

* Some hon. MEMBERS: Order.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The term "debate" is not confine merely to discussion; the rule does not apply only to set debate on the second or the third reading of a Bill. It has reference to all proceedings, answers

to questions and various matters of that kind. The only thing that it is competent for this House to deal with is the records of the Senate, which our officers have the right to search and to which reference may be made. But as to debate or discussion in the Senate, the rule is very clear.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

The Minister of the Interior was obliged to refer to the proceedings of the Senate. He went on to say that he did not know what they had in their mind; he did not know why they did this or why they did that. It seems to me that that was an absolutely legitimate proceeding on his part, and if that be the ease I cannot see how I can be prevented from referring to an announcement made in the Senate.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The reference made by the minister was merely a matter of speculation, and in making that reference the minister was quite within his rights. The hon. member (Mr. Fielding) might also do that, but 1 adhere to my ruling that it is not competent for the hon. member to refer to a debate in the Senate.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Then I state that in another place a member of the Government has stated that it was the intention of the Government to amend this Bill.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member is not in order when he attempts to say the same thing in an indirect way. That also is made very clear in the rule which I have read from Bourinot.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I bow to your ruling,

Mr. Speaker, I submit that that rule would be perfectly applicable in a matter of controversy. We have an amendment proposed by the Senate to a Bill and we are asked to agree to that amendment. Yet we are told that we cannot refer to anything that has been said in the Senate on that subject. Well, if that be the case the Minister of the Interior could not have moved that the House agree to the amendment; he could not have referred to anything that happened in the Senate. However, this is my point: Wherever it occurred and by whomsoever it was said, a member of this Government stated that it was the intention of the Government to move an amendment by which the two classes of stocks would be thrown together into the arbitration. That announcement was made less than twenty-four hours ago by a member of this Government, and I direct the attention of the minister to the fact that

no such amendment is to be found in the motion sent down from the Senate.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. E. W. NESBITT (Oxford, North):

Air. Speaker, I have not had anything to say with respect to this purchase of the Grand Trunk. I have always had the greatest respect for the Senate, but of all the absurd things I have ever seen in legislation, this business of appointing arbitrators to determine the value of a thing and then setting the price that they are to determine upon is the worst. Why should we appoint arbitrators to determine the value of anything, even if the thing to be valued is only a cow, and then set the price is more than I can comprehend. It is the most absurd thing I ever heard of, even if it was moved by the Senate.

Mr. FRANK S. CAHILL (Pontiac): I

should like to hear the explanation of the minister in charge of this Bill as to why he wants this amendment to be adopted. He seemed to be quite definite a few days ago in the view' that there should be no changes in the Bill as presented, and no amendments. If one more vicious clause was required in the Bill, it has now been put in by the Senate. This stock that is to be arbitrated, if it is worth anything-which I very much doubt-was quoted in the London stock exchange at about $28,000,000 or $29,000,000. Why the members of the Government should invite the arbitrators to place a value of $60,000,000 on that stock is surely beyond the reasoning power of any man in this House, especially when we remember that it is the money of the people that is being voted away. Why, the Government in this Chamber were bad, but the Government out of this Chamber were forty times worse. It is a most ridiculous thing to set a limit of $62,000,000 upon stocks that are to-day absolutely worthless. There is absolutely no question that if the Government would demand payment from the Grand Trunk people that stock would not be worth one dollar, and the stocks that they are guaranteeing the interest on would not be worth half of what they are guaranteeing. We were told yesterday that the country was bone dry and stone broke; the soldiers came to the Government for assistance, but they did not have a dollar to give them. We did not have a cent; we did not have a dollar; our poor poverty-striken country was not able to make an allowance of one dollar to the soldiers. And now thirteen hours afterwards, the Government comes down with another invitation to the London stockholders to insist on

getting at least $60,000,000 for absolutely worthless stock. If I am in order, I would move in amendment that the word " dollars " be struck out of the Bill and the word " cents " substituted therefor.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

In the opinion of the minister, does this amendment not suggest that the award of the arbitrators shall be made with reference primarily to the value of the stocks instead of, as I think it should be made, with reference to the physical assets that the Government is to obtain?

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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?

Mr. SPEAKEK@

I must point out that

the minister has spoken and under the rules is not entitled to reply. Under the peculiar circumstances, however, the House will no doubt unanimously consent to the minister's answering the question of the hon. member.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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November 8, 1919